This week, those standing around the water cooler celebrated Indigenous People’s Day. Among other thoughtful celebrations and recognitions, we considered who “owns” the land on which we live. These are great questions for philosophers, historians, humanists, and all of us to explore.
For those focused on government and politics, we could also explore the rules that determine where a politician resides, which makes that person eligible, or ineligible, to run for a specific office. This week’s example is brought to us by the City of Sacramento which has declared that City Councilmember Sean Loloee does reside in the house in which he says he lives.
So, that’s easy, end of story? Not so fast. Something smells fishy and it’s not just because we are obsessed with the salmon-inspired, Fat Bear Week. According to the Sacramento Bee, the City of Sacramento released the outside investigator’s report a week after residents in Loloee’s district publicly stated they were launching a recall effort. The investigation began about 3 months ago, but no details were given until Wednesday’s announcement.
The investigation was prompted by stories in the Sacramento Bee which indicated another family lived in the house owned by Lolee. His neighbors claimed they did not recognize him as a resident. When reporters asked Loloee about his residency, he did not suggest they visit his house so he could prove he lived there. There are also questions about the fact that Loloee’s wife and children live in Granite Bay (outside of his council district). Lolee did say that he temporarily moved out of his house due to threats made against him and his family, but there is no evidence of threats. Oh, and Lolee has admitted that another person, or people, live in the house with him.
According to the city’s investigation, Lolee keeps clothes, shoes, and personal items in a room and a bathroom. He is also registered to vote at the house. According to the City, that meets the requirements in the City Charter. Calpeek acknowledges that the definition of “residency” is a low bar.
The legal challenge into Lolee’s residency may be over for now, but as Calpeek readers know, Lolee is also facing an investigation by the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission. He has also faced federal investigations into wage theft and intimidation in regards to his business; a new federal investigation was launched in April.